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Publisher's Summary

“My story has been told many times and by highly regarded experts in their fields - judges, prosecutors, juvenile probation officers, sociologists, journalists. But I would like to try to tell it to you myself. I have reason to believe the experts may be wrong about me. You see, today, 30 years later, I am neither in prison nor dead.” - from My Time Will Come 

The United States is the only country in the world that sentences 13- and 14-year-old offenders, mostly youth of color, to life in prison without parole, regardless of the scientifically proven singularities of the developing adolescent brain - a heinous wrinkle in the scandal of mass incarceration. In 1991, Ian Manuel, then 14, was sentenced to life without parole for a non-homicide crime. In a botched mugging attempt with some older boys, he shot Debbie Baigrie, a young white mother of two, in the face. But as Bryan Stevenson has insisted, none of us should be judged only by the worst thing we have ever done.

Capturing the fullness of his humanity, here is Manuel’s powerful testimony of growing up homeless in Central Park Village in Tampa, Florida - a neighborhood riddled with poverty, gang violence, and drug abuse - and of his efforts to rise above his circumstances, only to find himself, partly through his own actions, imprisoned for two-thirds of his life, 18 years of which were spent in solitary confinement. Here is the at once wrenching and inspiring story of how he endured the savagery of the United States prison system and of how his victim, an extraordinary woman, forgave him and bravely advocated for his freedom, which was achieved by a crusade on the part of the Equal Justice Initiative to address the barbarism of our judicial system and to bring about “just mercy”.

Full of unexpected twists and turns as it describes a struggle to attain the glory of redemption, My Time Will Come is a paean to the capacity of the human will to transcend adversity through determination and art; in Ian Manuel’s case, through his dedication to writing poetry.

Cover design by Linda Huang, based on an original image by Glenn Paul for the Equal Justice Initiative

©2021 Ian Manuel (P)2021 Random House Audio

Critic Reviews

“His story is heartbreaking and hopeful and needs to be told.” (Booklist)

“This is a stunner.” (Publishers Weekly, starred review) 

"Manuel’s account is both heart-wrenching and uplifting.... Manuel vividly captures the terror of an adolescent thrust into adult incarceration and the added trauma of solitary confinement. He portrays the prison bureaucracy as arbitrary in its amplification of punitive measures, including routine beatings and tear-gassings.... A disturbing, vital, necessary eyewitness addition to debates about the mass incarceration epidemic in the US." (Kirkus Reviews

What listeners say about My Time Will Come

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How Long Will We Let This Go On!

Unbelievable story of crime and punishment, forgiveness yet continued punishment, and the depths of cruelty in our criminal justice department. Ian is a remarkable man who SURVIVED. Thankfully!

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Incredible story

Eye opening story of the grave injustice done in the name of justice. Thoughts and prayers with Ian that he would be richly blessed and deeply loved as he lives out the next chapter of his life with purpose and honor.

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Engaging

A story about hope strength determination and forgiveness, challenging the legal system as it tries to hoard young black males in systematic concentration camps.
A true story a young boy being forced to become a man way before his time.
Excellent read!!

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Brilliantly Written

Thank you Ian for taking us readers into your story - your years of hell, your resolve, your tenaciousness, your hope, your forgiveness, and at last your victory. Wishing you blessings and continued hope.

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Spellbinding

Ian Manuel’s circumstances from age 15 onwards must be felt by every human being. How he handled his harsh incarceration makes for a compelling true life story. He touched my soul to its core.

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Powerful humanness throughout

This story is deeply tragic. Haunting at times. And also so hopeful. So important to help people really become present to what we have created and continue to maintain and support within our “justice” and prison system. We have created infinitely more tragedy from tragedies. Thank you Ian for teaching me so much through your voice and story and poetry.

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a must read

This is a fantastic book. It is well written, well narrated and a story you won't soon forget. This book taught me a lot.

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Deeply moving account.

Many thanks to Mr. Manuel for writing his story and sharing it with the world.

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couldn't stop listening to it

great book. kept me from sleeping. his poetry through out the book just hits you in a way I have never experienced before.

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Compelling, Tragic, Inspirational, Enlightening

I went through this book fast. Ian tells his story in a way that forces you to listen and has much to teach our society about how caring for children, raising them out of poverty, and showing compassion could give us fewer victims and inmates. His strength is like that of an Olympian.